Bee’s Knees creation finds ‘capitol’ home

By Traci Chapman

An original Bee’s Knees creation has found a home with an Oklahoma state representative.

Rep. Ben Sherrer, D-Choteau, last week accepted a mixed media piece created by Bees Knees artists David Blose and Lindsay Pluess. The pair are artists for the Youth and Family Services program that gives young artists with developmental disabilities the chance to create and sell their artistic creations.

Sherrer first learned about Bee’s Knees through its founder, Youth and Family Services Executive Director Dee Blose, he said.

Melinda Lauffenburger, executive director of AutismOklahoma, Dee Blose, Youth and Family Services, artist David Blose, Brandon Smith, Bee’s Knees program coordinator, and artist Lindsay Pluess presented Rep. Ben Sherrer with David and Lindsey’s original artwork on Feb. 13 in the House Chamber. (Photo courtesy)

Melinda Lauffenburger, executive director of AutismOklahoma, Dee Blose, Youth and Family Services, artist David Blose, Brandon Smith, Bee’s Knees program coordinator, and artist Lindsay Pluess presented Rep. Ben Sherrer with David and Lindsey’s original artwork on Feb. 13 in the House Chamber. (Photo courtesy)

“I was first introduced to Bee’s Knees through Leadership Oklahoma where I met Dee Blose, who came to speak to us about Youth and Family Services, Inc.” said Sherrer. “Throughout my time in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, I have been a supporter of several organizations that work with people with disabilities, and it was truly an honor to work with Bee’s Knees.”

Partnered with Autism Oklahoma, Bee’s Knees has grown in its three years from a class to a small business that creates and markets handmade items, from note cards and calendars to original paintings and mixed-media pieces. Brandon Smith, Bee’s Knees coordinator, directs the artists and worked with Sherrer beginning in 2011 to commission a first piece, with a second piece presented to the representative last week.

“The only direction I gave was that I wanted the piece to reflect the various state symbols of Oklahoma,” Sherrer said. “I could not be happier with the way it turned out. It is a beautiful piece that evokes a smile.”

The 2011 piece was a mixed-media piece painted on local newspapers depicting Oklahoma state symbols, Sherrer said. The 2013 piece also contains familiar state symbols but features a three-dimensional presentation in which the symbols appear to float above a field of brightly-colored puzzle pieces, symbolic of the puzzle of autism.

Sherrer is a graduate of Oklahoma Partners in Policymaking, a disability advocacy program, and serves on the House of Representatives Human Services Committee. He has also been appointed to the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disability.

For more information about Bee’s Knees, go online to http://beeskneesonline.org/ or

http://yfsok.org/BeesKnees-Special-Needs-Education-Program-Oklahoma.

 

 

 

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